Information management in UK-based architecture and engineering organizations: drivers, constraining factors, and barriers

The need to improve collaborative working, knowledge sharing, and operational effectiveness has made effective Information Management a growing priority for Architecture and Engineering (A & E) organizations in the UK construction industry. While significant research has been carried out in the construction industry on project Information Management, limited work has been carried out to understand Information Management from an organisational paradigm. This paper presents the findings of an investigation into the nature of Information Management within A & E organizations in the UK construction industry. Interviews were conducted with experts across nine large architectural and multidisciplinary consultancies, the outputs of which were analysed using thematic analysis. From this, 26 themes across three core categories classed as drivers, constraining factors, and barriers which shape Information Management practices in construction organizations emerged. The findings show that Information Management is indeed of strategic significance to organizations and an organizational dimension is necessary to better align information needs with an organisation’s operational processes. They also show that context-dependent factors exist which shape the nature of Information Management in line with the specific needs of each organizations. Therefore, the effectiveness of an organisation’s Information Management practices is not absolute, but rather relative to its level of alignment to the organisation’s chosen mode of operation. The findings provide a much needed practical view of the complexities of Information Management, highlighting that particularly within multidisciplinary organizations; a unifying approach is much more practical and appropriate than a single approach to managing information.